Clarity and Core Ideas


Here’s an underlying principle which applies no matter what you’re writing.

If you’re having trouble making things clear, it’s probably because you have departed from the underlying core ideas upon which your fiction is based.

Many temptations await the inexperienced writer -trying to sound clever by swapping a normal character or archetype with something they’ve found in another book, for example, or slipping in an imaginative idea they’ve just had, even though it’s not really appropriate. Doing this can lose you readers and reduce your clarity.

All substitutes do not mean the same thing.

Each archetypal character has a subtle nuance of meaning making it distinct from others -random substitutions of characters that merely seem to look better creates oddities and confusions and shows up the real limits of your understanding as a writer. Choose exactly the right arıchetype for the meaning you want, even if you then individualise that character.

For example, Obi-wan Kenobi from the Star Wars films is exactly the same archetype as Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings or Merlin from the tales of King Arthur or Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books, yet each of these characters also possess individual traits which mark them out as unique. Similarity and difference, difference and similarity -what’s important is the core ideas upon which these similarities and differences rest.

If it helps, make a diagram showing the main idea of your story in model form. Below that, you should list supporting ideas, and below that, the details that you plan on using. Think of it as a builder’s blueprint. Most of your ‘original’ ideas will slot into place and be expanded and developed in ways which you never imagined by doing this.

The phenomenon known as ‘writers’ block’ stems p